TASMANIA’S councils are opening up more areas to campervans and motorhomes as the state tries to lure the grey nomad dollar and shake off its reputation as an unfriendly RV destination.
Tasmania has received a bad rap from the caravan and motorhome brigade in recent years.
The cost of getting vehicles across Bass Strait is a major gripe along with claims Tasmania does not provide enough spaces, outside of traditional caravan parks, to cater for what is a rapidly growing tourism market.
But now 25 Tasmanian towns are listed by the Campervan and Motorhome Association of Australia as RV Friendly.
The association has 64,000 members and warmer climes are competing for the money the RV fraternity spends on petrol, food and visiting local attractions.
Sorell was one of the first towns in Tasmania to enter the “grey nomad hall of fame” as a top spot to visit.
Circular Head Council this week decided it would look at setting up a new “freedom camping” site for recreation vehicles close to the beach and other amenities at Stanley.
Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief Luke Martin said the state needed to cater for what was one of the few growth areas in domestic tourism.
“We also need to get over the perception that they don’t spend money,” he said.
“We want these tourists and we have to have both great caravan parks and free or low-charge camping sites in order to attract them.”
In Tasmania’s South, Franklin, Huonville, Sorell, Port Huon and Glenorchy are listed as RV Friendly towns.
To be RV friendly, a town must provide enough parking within the CBD, spaces for self-contained vehicles to park and camp within 5km of the post office, access to potable water and a free dump point close to town.
Last year it was reported that Tasmania was missing out on billions of dollars because grey nomads were giving the island a miss.
Campervan and Motorhome Association of Australia director Ken Kipping said at the time that Tasmania had failed to roll out the welcome mat and word was spreading fast.
“They vote with their wheels and wallets, and if you want them to come, you should facilitate and encourage travel,” he said.
“If you don’t, other people will welcome them with open arms.”
A Tasmanian Government Statewide Directions Paper last year ruled that local councils could continue to provide affordable overnight camping, but that they had to allow for sewage, maintenance, rubbish collection, signage, power and labour costs when setting fees.
Sorell Council charges $6.50 a night for its RV area in town for up to six consecutive nights.
The camping review was triggered by complaints from four caravan parks to the Tasmanian Economic Regulator. Minister for Local Government, Bryan Green said councils had indicated they wanted to keep prices as low as possible.